New WWDC Ticket Rules Favor Independent Devs Over Large Companies

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Apple has taken drastic measure to stop WWDC ticket touts this year. Has your order been cancelled?
Apple's new WWDC ticket policies encourage more independent developers to attend.

Tickets to Apple’s WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC) always sell out quickly once Apple announces the event – this year the conference sold out even faster than ever. In what was likely an effort to streamline ticket-purchasing and encourage more independent developers to attend, Apple modified the rules governing ticket purchases this year.

The new rules require that anyone purchasing a ticket be a member of one of Apple’s paid developer programs – Mac or iOS. Tickets needed to be purchased with the Apple ID associated with a developer membership, which may or may not be the same Apple ID used for other services like iTunes/App Store purchases or iCloud (particularly if membership is tied to a developer’s employer).

In previous years Apple had included a year’s developer membership as part of the ticket price. The policy probably helped drive interest and recruit developers as well as convinced many to attend – that incentive seems far less necessary now that the conference sells out in a matter of hours.

It’s also worth noting that the $99/year cost for an individual Mac developer membership is a recent phenomenon – a few years ago, a developer membership was $499 (although that also used to include a developer discount on a new Mac worth up to $400).

The change in policy also impacts how many employees a company can send to WWDC based on its enterprise membership in one of the developer programs. Companies are only allowed to purchase five tickets this year (and individuals are only allowed one).

That move was likely to encourage more independent developers to attend. That could be a very good thing for both iOS and OS X overall. For larger companies that create iOS and/or Mac solutions, however, this is a pretty tight restriction.